Judge begins final instructions to jury in Oland murder trial

SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- The judge in the murder trial of Dennis Oland began his final instructions to the jury on Tuesday, telling the court there has only been speculation about the weapon that was used to kill Oland's father.

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Oland has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his father, well-known businessman Richard Oland, whose family founded a business institution in the Maritimes, Moosehead Breweries Ltd.

Justice John Walsh of the Court of Queen's Bench told jurors there was speculation by police that a drywall hammer could have been the murder weapon. But he said there is no evidence to prove it was a drywall hammer, adding that it is "speculation and pure conjecture."

Oland, who was 69, was found face down in a pool of blood in his office in Saint John, N.B., on July 7, 2011.

Defence lawyer Alan Gold told jurors Monday that after three months of testimony, they are no closer to knowing who killed Richard Oland than when the trial began.

Crown attorney P.J. Veniot told the Court of Queen's Bench that Dennis Oland was the last person to see his father alive and had opportunity to kill him.

Walsh is expected to take close to two days to deliver his instructions before jurors begin their deliberations.

He told them they must make their decision without sympathy, prejudice or guilt, and base it on the evidence presented during the trial, which began in mid-September.

"You must not be influenced by public opinion," Walsh said.

Walsh said Dennis Oland is presumed to be innocent unless the Crown proves his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"It is not enough for you to believe Dennis Oland is probably or likely guilty," he explained. "The Crown must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

Thirteen jurors -- eight men and five women -- have been sequestered but Walsh will conduct a draw and one juror will be dismissed once he completes his instructions, leaving 12 to reach a verdict.



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